Samsung and Western Digital work together to develop ZNS SSD & SMR HDD solutions

Recently, Samsung and Western Digital signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly develop the next-generation Data Placement, Processing, and Fabrics (D2PF) storage technology standard and are committed to promoting the widespread use of related hardware. Under the terms of the agreement, Samsung and Western Digital will collaborate to create a vibrant ecosystem of partitioned storage devices to create greater value for customers.

Samsung and Western Digital have launched an initiative around zoned storage devices, which include Zoned NameSpaces (ZNS) SSDs, and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) HDDs. Through organizations such as SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and the Linux Foundation, Samsung and Western Digital will define high-level models and frameworks for next-generation partitioned storage technologies. To achieve an open and scalable data center architecture, the two parties have also formed the Zoned Storage TWG (Technical Working Group), which is already defining and specifying common use cases for zoned storage devices, as well as host/device architectures and programming models.

CXL memory platform

ZNS technology allows data to be grouped according to usage and access frequency and stored sequentially in separate areas within the SSD. This avoids moving and rearranging data, significantly reducing the number of write operations and reducing the write amplification factor (WAF). SSDs need to allocate a certain amount of space as reserved space to effectively manage and improve the performance of flash memory chips, while SSDs using ZNS technology do not need to do this, which can make their available capacity larger. ZNS SSDs can reduce cost and power consumption, and simplify the use of new NAND architectures such as QLC 3D NAND.

Storage is the essential foundation for how people and businesses consume and use data. To enable today’s needs and tomorrow’s next big ideas, we must innovate, collaborate and keep pace as an industry in bringing new standards and architectures to life,” said Rob Soderbery, EVP and GM, Flash Business Unit at Western Digital. “In order for a technology ecosystem to be successful, overall frameworks and general solution models must come together so they do not suffer from fragmentation, which delays adoption and adds unnecessary complexity for software stack developers.

Both Samsung and Western Digital have each released ZNS SSDs in recent years, but these devices are rarely used, possibly due to different implementations. Furthermore, a smooth interoperable ecosystem of ZNS storage technologies is still not fully formed, so deploying suitable equipment is not easy.

As a technology leader in the storage industry, the cooperation between Samsung and Western Digital is exciting.